On Wednesday, July 8, at an invitation-only cocktail party in Manhattan, Megan Abbott and Laura Lippman shared the Strand Critics Award for Best Novel for The Fever (Little, Brown and Company) and After I’m Gone (William Morrow), respectively.
“I couldn’t be more honored and thrilled to be a part of this grand crime fiction tradition,” Abbott said. “And to share this award with the extraordinary Laura Lippman, whose work is a constant inspiration, makes it all the sweeter. Thank you!”
This was a record fourth nomination for Lippman who won the Strand’s inaugural award for best novel for What the Dead Know. “As one of Megan Abbott’s biggest fans, I was happily, hopefully expecting her to take the Strand Award for best novel of 2014. We had joked about it much of the day, via Twitter, while one of our mutual friends staunchly predicted a tie,” Lippman said. “When it actually happened, I truly wondered if it were a dream. Crime fiction is so varied today, wonderfully so, that a tie reflects how hard it is to say what best represents the genre. Sharing a award with a friend I consider one of the shining lights of crime fiction was truly special.”
Debut author Elizabeth Little, who received rave reviews for Dear Daughter was elated to receive the top prize for best first novel. “I wouldn’t be a mystery writer if I weren’t also an avid and ardent mystery reader, so it was almost unbearably thrilling to win an award presented by The Strand, which means so much to me, and to the mystery community at large, and to share a stage with Megan Abbott and Laura Lippman, two writers I admire to such an extent that I fear I probably acted a bit silly around them. It was a very, very special night for me—and a real honor.”
In addition to the Critics Awards, Otto Penzler was recognized for his contributions to the field of crime fiction with the Strand Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award. To say that Penzler has made an enormous contribution to the world of crime writing would be an understatement. In addition to owning the legendary Mysterious Bookshop in New York, he has also edited dozens of anthologies and is the founder of Mysterious Press, which published authors such as Eric Ambler, Nelson DeMille, and Patricia Highsmith.
“Being given The Strand Magazine lifetime achievement award is a heart-stopping honor, “ said Penzler. “As the only nonwriter (yes, I write, but I’m not a writer) to receive it, I am humbled to find myself on the same list as Elmore Leonard, Michael Connelly, and the other distinguished mystery authors whose work has been recognized. I proudly accept the award on behalf of all the wonderful writers with whom I’ve worked over the years.”
The Critics Awards were judged by a select group of book critics from venues such as Time, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and the LA Times.
“At the end of the day, nothing separated Megan from Laura Lippman—both of their books were incredible and managed to strike a cord with critics and readers alike,” said Andrew F. Gulli, managing editor of The Strand. “And it was great to see Otto on hand to collect the award. Otto is credit to the world of publishing and is also one of the of the most generous and intelligent persons in our industry.”
Best First Novel Nominees:
1. Dry Bones in the Valley by Tom Bouman (W.W. Norton)
2. Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little (Viking)
3. The Home Place by Carrie La Seur (William Morrow)
4. Ice Shear by M.P. Cooley (William Morrow)
5. Confessions by Kanae Minato and translated by Stephen Snyder (Mulholland Books)
6. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica (Mira)
Best Novel Nominees:
1. The Fever by Megan Abbott (Little, Brown and Company)
2. Jack of Spies by David Downing (SOHO)
3. The Secret Place by Tana French (Viking)
4. Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner (Dutton)
5. Die Again by Tess Gerritsen (Ballantine)
6. After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman
Lifetime Achievement Award: